Late blog post (again) but the site was unavailable earlier.
Zakopalova v Bartoli:
Both players had to stage a comeback in ther quarter finals. Zak was being outplayed by Goerges but the German was unable to take the chances in the second set. When Zak got a chance she was able to take it. Goerges fell apart in the 3rd set and towards the end decided she was suffering from an injury. Zak won the third easily.
Bartoli was 2-5 down in the third set but fought back to take the match in a tie break against a fading Vinci.
Head to heads are 2-2. They played twice in 2011. Both times on hard courts and they won a match each.
In their last matches they both played their best tennis towards the end of the match. It has to be said that both their opponents made their task easier but if Bartoli can reproduce that late form in front of her home crowd then she will take this match easily.
Bartoli is often most vulnerable in the opening set but in their 4 previous matches she has won the first set in 3 of them.
Bartoli seemed to be lifted by the loud crowd last night and I’m sure she will want to give another good performance in front of them. The danger could be that she will try a little too hard and force the early points rather than playing with patience. I think there will be a few swings in the set but I see Bartoli taking it and then running away with the second.
Update: That went pretty much to plan. Bartoli won the first break but handed it straight back. She then found herself 2-5 down and she was struggling to win a point never mind a game. She came back and took the set to a tie break which she won easily.
In the second set it was one way traffic.
Bartoli won 7-6, 6-0.
Kerber v Wickmayer:
They have played just once before which was last year and on clay. Wickmayer won that in 3 sets.
On paper these two are very even. Ranked 27th and 29th. Wickmayer has slightly better stats on serve and Kerber is slightly better on return.
Kerber’s most recent form is better than Wickmayer’s. She had a better run at the Oz Open reaching the third round where she lost to Sharapova who she beat yesterday in straight sets. Wickmayer went out in the first round in Melbourne although she had played a final the week before. Wick did manage to beat Barthel in her quarter final here who was the player she lost to in that final.
Kerber’s ground strokes have been superb this week and especially in her win over Sharapova. Whilst I think this could be a close match I’d expect Kerbers game to stand up better under pressure.
Kerber has lost 6 semis in a row but her ranking dropped from over 100 towards the end of last year which shows how much her game has improved in recent months.
Update: Kerber seemed to be holding back a little in the first set. She went 2-0 up but was broken back. The set went to a tie break that Wickmayer took. The second set was all Kerber and she was hitting the groundstrokes much better.
A tight third set saw Wickmayer take a 4-2 lead but Kerber took the next 4 games to book her place in the final.